HP partners with Apple to sell its own iPod

Hewlett-Packard will release a digital music player later this year based on Apple Computer's iPod, the companies announced at...

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Hewlett-Packard will release a digital music player later this year based on Apple Computer's iPod, the companies announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The device will go on sale in June and has similar features and navigation controls the iPod.

HP said the device would be priced competitively with other music players on the market. The 20Gbyte version of Apple's iPod retails for $399.

HP will also preinstall Apple's iTunes jukebox software on its consumer PCs and notebook systems, and add a desktop icon pointing customers to the iTunes online music store.

Carly Fiorina, HP's chairman and chief executive, said the move fits in with its broader digital entertainment system strategy. For Apple, it furthers its goal of getting iPods and iTunes in the hands of as many people as possible, said Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive officer.

"As the industry balkanises by offering digital music wrapped in a multitude of incompatible proprietary technologies, consumers will be reassured in getting the same unparalleled digital music solutions from both HP and Apple, two leaders in the digital music era." Jobs said.

The iPod, which works with both Mac computers and PCs, has been credited with taking digital music players into the mainstream. More than two million have been sold since it was introduced in 2001. The deal should make HP the first company to resell a version of Apple's product.

Earlier this week at Macworld, Apple said it would launch a smaller version of the iPod called the iPod mini, which will retail for $249 and come with a 4Gbyte hard drive. Its existing product comes with up to 40Gbytes of storage.

HP said that according to its internal research, more than 54% of its existing consumer customers download music to their PCs.

James Niccolai writes for IDG News Service



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